One year. I’ve been in Belgium for one year. Today is the anniversary of my arrival here. I remember the day I took the flight: still at home, putting the last things in my suitcases, thinking that I was really grown-up because I hadn’t shared a single tear. Then I fought with my mother for a stupid reason that I can’t even remember anymore and that was the catalyst: in a completely unexpected way, I sat down on the floor and cried like a child.
It was like a thunderstorm: furiously strong, disappointingly quick. In an anxious, no-one-has-time-for-this-shit sort of way, I recovered, put everything in the cab and headed to the airport – with the company of half of the family. The whole airport/airplane adventure is kind of a blur to me at this point, but now I look back and stand baffled before the brave girl who left everything she ever knew without a second glance over her shoulder.
But the thing is: I never looked back because I had already been nostalgic for too long. I usually don’t dwell on the past. Some people like to spend time reminiscing about what was; me, if I have to think about life at all, I’ll make a zillion plans for the future – most of them never happen but, oh, isn’t it the most wonderful way to pass idle time?
Anyway. Like I was saying, I don’t think too much about what already happened, but during the months that preceded that 8th of March, retracing my steps and remembering moments that had marked my life, especially during those 17 years I had lived in Brazil, was all I could do. I would stay awake until late at night, looking through the window of my room and concentrating very hard on the landscape to make sure that I would never forget any detail of that view.
Sometimes my eyes would wander to the stars, the beautiful stars shining as they have since the beginning of time, and I would smile with a random memory; like my friends from college came home so we could work on our Final Project and we ended up talking about sex and boys, and spent all our time searching for tell-tale sex-related body language signs on the internet. Or that other time when everything that could possibly go wrong had gone so during a never-ending day and I opened the door to my house and felt so safe, so protected, so sheltered, and I knew that it didn’t matter that I had had an awful day; the rest of it was going to be blessedly fine.
Sometimes, during my reminiscences, I would cry. Others, I would laugh. There were times when I doubted myself; there were situations where I felt there was no other way but to go. But my choice to leave never wavered. I more or less knew what my life would be if I stayed in Brazil and even though I had no guarantees and no concrete plans related to Belgium, I knew Brazil wasn’t what I wanted or needed. Not moving was unthinkable and unacceptable.
So when it was time to venture out, I had already asked myself all the questions, I had already created every possible alternative scenario, and I had already retraced, reminisced and filed away the best of my memories for future consulting. I had handled all the bureaucracy that needed to be handled, had given everything that was not in my suitcases to charity and had said goodbye to everyone important to me.
There was nothing left for me there. That’s why it was easy to go, and that’s why I never missed it. I feel that I already lived everything that I had to live there. Now I am in Belgium, and I have been here for a year, and God, am I not proud of it?
I am happy that I left, and I don’t miss it or regret it, not in the least bit. People find that strange (“what do you mean, you don’t miss Brazil?”), but I don’t. I don’t plan on being here forever, but for the time being, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Home is where the heart is, I said once. Mine is, right now, in here. And that’s all that matters.